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When will there be Peace?

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 Ephesians 2:13-22 “…He came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who are near.” Ephesians 2:17 (NRSV) It’s no fun being an outsider… It’s no fun being estranged – or feeling estranged – from someone else. Yet, sometimes in life we find ourselves on the outside looking in (so to speak). And occasionally we are placed (or place ourselves) on the wrong side of a dividing wall of hostility with someone else… a former friend, one we’ve loved, even an acquaintance. What do we do when that happens? Do we simply accept estrangement (or hostility) for what it is – a condition in life (at times) that divides us from others? Do we pray, perhaps, that God w

Where or from Whom?

John 6:1-15 “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” John 6:5b (Common English Bible) There’s a story I once heard of a minister who was invited to a large family gathering. There was a swarm of people there – all gathered on the lawn of his parishioner’s home – for a Sunday dinner that the man’s wife had carefully prepared and lay out before them – a veritable feast! You could tell that the wife and mother of this household had worked very hard. When all was ready, the host looked at the minister and asked if he would say the blessing. But before a word was said, a little girl – the youngest daughter of the host couple spoke up and said… “I’ll say the blessing. I’ll say the pr

Travel Light

“Travel light,” says Jesus to his less than straight A disciples. “Do not pack lunch or dinner or even an energy bar.” “Do not bring a change of clothes, even socks or underwear.” “Leave your money in the bank.” “Wear sandals.” “Carry a walking stick and get going.” That was the first ordination sermon preached in the New Testament. It was preached by Jesus to his disciples on the verge of their graduation from Galilee Seminary. The rest of the story is sparse on details, but Mark makes one point clearly. The disciples, who throughout Mark are a dense and bumbling lot, for one fleeting, shining moment trust in the sure provisions of God and do exactly as Jesus says, and the results are breat

Guiding Stories

Jesus was born into a people with a powerful guiding story. It helped them survive the harsh reality of living under Roman rule. It told of wandering Arameans, Abraham and Sarah, to whom God promised descendants as plentiful as the stars and of how harshly Pharaoh treated the descendants of these two Arameans. It told tales of plagues and a way God created for them amid a raging river and of manna that God provided for them at the dawn of each new day. During pogroms in Europe and especially during the fires of the Holocaust, Jews from diverse nations around the world would recite these words from their guiding story: “Wandering Arameans were our parents.” And, with these words, they would r

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